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Our collaboration

Looking back...


The partnership between the University of Waterloo (UW) and the University of Bordeaux (UBx) goes back to 2010 as the result of initiatives led by Professor Eric Prouzet of the Department of Chemistry at UW. Thanks to recognized shared strengths in the areas of materials science and nanotechnology, E. Prouzet facilitated UW’s entry into the European Union (EU) International Doctoral School in Functional Materials (IDS-FunMat), coordinated by UBx (Prof. Laurent Servant, Prof. Jean Etourneau).

Since then, three scientific workshops have been held in this area in 2010 and 2014 in Waterloo and in 2012 in Bordeaux. The IDS FunMat program provided funding from a variety of EU sources, for 15 Waterloo graduate students, who worked on collaborative projects between 2010 and 2015. These joint workshops identified many areas of research compatibility in nanotechnology.

Bio-based Chemistry Agreement

Associated with the 2014 IDS-FunMat workshop, both Universities agreed to an expanded degree of collaboration and a joint international undergraduate program in Bio-Based Chemistry was conceived. The first Bordeaux students took courses delivered on-line at Waterloo in 2016. This subsequently led to the participation of Waterloo in the new EU Masters program in Functional Applied Materials and Engineering.

Collaborative Research; Seed Funding Program

Collaborative research programs in expanded fields were initiated in 2015, with seed funding provided by UW’s Dean of Science and the VP Academic and Provost. Calls for proposals were also made in 2016, 2017 and 2019. To date, members from all six faculties at Waterloo and laboratories outside the domain of material sciences in Bordeaux are now involved in Bordeaux -Waterloo collaborations.

Support from a combination of UW and UBx sources has provided a total of over $900,000 to support 34 collaborative research projects, including projects from the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Health, the Faculty of Environment, the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Math, the Waterloo Water Institute, and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. These projects have subsequently generated funding for both institutions, including over $900,000 in new grants awarded to UW researchers, over €1 Million in new grants awarded to UBx researchers and another €1.8 Million awarded to international partner projects as a result of the collaboration. Projects have also resulted in 60 conferences and workshops, over 30 new innovations and technologies (broadly defined), over 70 joint publications, one spin-off company and one patent filed.

Framework Agreement

A visit by UBx President Manuel Tunon de Lara to Waterloo in 2016 saw the signing of an initial Framework Agreement for International Collaboration between the two institutions with UW President Feridun Hamdullahpur. This Framework Agreement established a bilateral cooperation programme aiming to promote exchange visits of teachers and researchers, promote bilateral student mobility for joint studies, carry out research programs, organize joint symposia, conferences and meetings, participation of administrative staff in cooperative actions, and engaging in communication of results via symposia, seminars, conferences and other scientific meetings. 

Water Research Collaboration

The UW Water Institute has also developed a significant ongoing collaboration with the COTE Laboratory at Bordeaux, which specialises in coastal waterways research. In 2018, a research proposal, headed by the Director of the Water Institute, Professor Roy Brouwer, in collaboration with colleagues from Bordeaux and the French National Institute for Environmental and Agricultural Science and Research, as well as the Grand River Conservation Authority, was submitted to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). This proposal was successful in receiving an award of $CDN 198,498 for a three-year project from 2018 to 2021.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Health Research

In the Fall of 2018, following a call by the French National Research Agency for proposals in AI, Bordeaux sought a further partnership with the UW Faculty of Health. This resulted in a visit by staff from the Bordeaux International Office to UW in October 2018, leading to a workshop held in Bordeaux in April 2019 with participation by 13 faculty members from Waterloo from the Faculties of Health, Mathematics and Engineering. This workshop subsequently led to a 2019 call for proposals in artificial intelligence and health technologies where $150,000 was awarded to six projects jointly led by Waterloo and Bordeaux researchers. Two of the successful projects from this call have resulted in awards by Mitacs to fund student mobility to continue to work on AI collaborations.

Click here to download a visual representation of the evolution of the Bordeaux-Waterloo partnership.